EU urged to track down Russian assets

Before frozen Russian central bank assets can be seized and sent to Ukraine, they need to be located first, EU lawyers have said

EU urged to track down Russian assets

EU urged to track down Russian assets

Frozen property can be confiscated to benefit Ukraine, the bloc’s lawyers say – if it can be found

The EU’s legal service can provide legal justification for confiscating Russian assets, frozen under the bloc’s Ukraine sanctions, but if the funds are to be sent for Kiev as Brussels officials want, they need to be found and tallied first, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

“We are exploring with our partners how to use Russia’s public assets to the benefit of Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a news conference on Thursday, as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky came to visit.

“reconstruction” efforts.

“financial suitability” of the investment scheme depends on the actual amount held by the bloc’s banks, the lawyers said. So far, EU members have reported about €33.8 billion ($36.4 billion) in Russian central bank assets, but “that figure is still being assessed,” according to Bloomberg. Estimates citing numbers as high as $258 billion are based on the 2022 report by the Bank of Russia on its gold and foreign exchange holdings.

The most recent estimates from the Bank of Russia, released at the end of January, mentioned $80.8 billion in frozen assets at all Western financial institutions, with 20% belonging to retail investors rather than the state.

Washington has led the efforts to confiscate the frozen funds and add them to over $120 billion the US and its allies have sent to Kiev over the past year. Last week, the US announced it was giving Ukraine $5.4 million seized from Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev, whom they accused of “having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly” the Russian government.

reported a 162% increase in 2022 earnings on Wednesday, revealing that it profited to the tune of €597 million ($641 million) from handling the frozen Russian assets.